Firefighters can live where they want

Firefighters can live where they want

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

The City of Rockford and Rockford firefighters (International Association of Firefighters Local 413) extinguished some hostility Wednesday after both sides reached an agreement on residency requirements.

In the collective bargaining session, firefighters procured the right to live anywhere in the county or within a 15-mile radius of the Public Safety building.

The city also received concessions on physical fitness testing and duty assignments for firefighters as a part of the collective bargaining process.

The City Council and Local 413 members still must approve the provisions and changes, which tentatively will go into effect Oct. 1. The council will vote Feb. 16. An arbitration is set for Feb. 15 to decide on other matters. They include pay raises and insurance considerations.

“I just think it’s good for everybody involved,” said Frank DeCastris, vice president of Local 413. “It’s been a major problem for the last few contracts, at least. We’ve settled a few minor things. This was probably the biggest issue for us.”

“It’s a fair agreement,” IAFF 413 President Joe Corl added.

City Administrator Einar Forsman also considers the decision fair. “The city’s position has been weakened with respect to residency, and there’s a desire to maintain equitable conditions in the workplace for city employees,” he said.

Similarly, the city’s police union won the battle to live where they want last November from a ruling by Arbitrator Elliot Goldstein.

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